Dr. Carolyn Kathryn Ehr, 86, of Las Cruces, NM, who dedicated her life to teaching and to helping others, died on April 10, 2021 in Las Cruces after a prolonged illness. She was born in Muskegon, MI, on November 21, 1934 to Gerald and Eleanor (Adamczyk) Ehr, the only sister in a family with elder brothers Donald and Richard and younger brother, Robert. All predeceased her.
Carolyn grew up in Muskegon, MI, where she attended St. Mary’s High School and graduated with the school’s final graduating class in 1953. She joined the Dominican sisters in Grand Rapids, MI. In 1958, while with the Dominicans, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Aquinas College, which she attended on a 4-year academic scholarship. She remained with the Dominican order for 17 years.
Carolyn considered herself, first and foremost, a teacher. She earned a Masters in Religious Education as well as a Masters in Mathematics, and taught mathematics at Aquinas College for six years. Carolyn also taught mathematics at the University of Florida as a Visiting Professor, and then as an Instructor in the Department of Math in the Franklin College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Georgia, where she successfully defended her Ed.D. thesis in 1979.
In 1987, she took a position in the Mathematics Department at Fort Hays State University in Hays, KS, and taught at FHSU until her retirement. During her tenure, in addition to her teaching and administrative duties, she worked tirelessly to advance the position of women in mathematics through various leadership positions and organizations: she served as the President of the Kansas Association of Teachers of Mathematics 1981-1982, and in 1983 was elected Treasurer of Women in Mathematics Education – National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. She also worked with Princeton Educational Testing Service to create questions for standardized tests. Upon her retirement from FHSU, she endowed the Dr. Carolyn Ehr Mathematics scholarship, awarded each year to a student of Math Teacher Education.
She was active in Catholic parishes everywhere she lived, taking on roles of minister of communion, reader at Mass, and being part of committees of religious education, social action and social justice. An avid volunteer outside of her church as well, she was a member of the Board of Directors for the Ellis County, KS, Habitat for Humanity from its inception, among other organizations in and around Hays. In New Mexico, most recently she was part of Indivisible, an organization dedicated to voter registration efforts and support of progressive candidates for office. Everywhere Carolyn lived, she spent many volunteer hours working to make the lives of local children and their families better.
All aspects of Carolyn’s life were filled with intellectual growth and social involvement. She made friends wherever she lived, many of whom stayed in touch until the end of her life. Though she had played party bridge for many years, late in life she made new friends while taking lessons to learn duplicate bridge, playing until her health no longer permitted it.
Carolyn loved to travel! Some of her most memorable trips were to Australia, Japan and Europe. She almost never missed a family wedding, of which there were many – her brothers had 16 children among them. She enjoyed getting together with her brothers and their extended families, finding a sense of sisterhood with their spouses Marge, Luanne, Mary, and Ginny. Carolyn was an active and much-loved presence in the lives of her many nieces and nephews.
Her family, friends, vocation, and faith were her touchstones, and the world is a poorer place without her in it. She is survived by sisters-in-law Virginia Ehr, Luanne Ehr, and Mary Ehr; fifteen nieces and nephews and numerous great-nieces and great-nephews; great friends Rosalie and Weeden Nichols, Faith St. Marie, Ellen Veed, Louise Barnitz, Carol Cyrs, and many others.
Donations in Carolyn’s memory can be directed to: Mesilla Valley Community of Hope (999 W. Amador, Las Cruces NM 88005) or Casa De Peregrinos Food Program (999 W. Amador, Suite F, Las Cruces NM 88005
Arrangements by Getz Funeral Home 1410 E. Bowman Ave. Las Cruces, NM 88001. Please visit www.getzcares.com to sign the local online guest book.
Posted online on April 17, 2021